VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA/WESH/AP) — The 12-year-old boy accused of firing rounds at Volusia County deputies will be held in secure detention for 21 days pending a hearing later this month.
During a virtual hearing, Judge Michael Orfinger told the boy that he was facing charges of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer and armed burglary of a dwelling.
The judge appointed a public defender for the boy, who remained silent.
The boy and a 14-year-old girl are accused of shooting at deputies for hours on Tuesday in a home that Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said they broke into.
“This went on for hours. This wasn’t a split second, we exchange gunfire. We were out here from 7:30 until 9 o’clock until we returned fire,” Chitwood said.
Crews responded to the scene of the shooting incident at a property at 1050 Enterprise Osteen Road in Enterprise Tuesday night, officials said.
According to Chitwood, around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, a 12-year-old boy had reportedly run away with a 14-year-old girl from a juvenile home for troubled children. Deputies searched for the two children, as the 12-year-old is insulin-dependent.
Around 7 p.m., the sheriff said a passerby said he heard glass breaking at a home.
Deputies discovered a house had been broken into.
Officials with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office called the homeowner, who said no one should be at the home, and that homeowner told the sheriff’s office there were firearms and ammunition in the house.
According to Chitwood, as deputies surrounded the home, they were met with gunfire, multiple times.
At 8:28 p.m., a sergeant took gunfire multiple times, but did not return fire. The children continued to shoot at deputies, the sheriff said.
At 8:40 p.m., the 14-year-old girl emerged from the home and opened fire on deputies, Chitwood said.
The 14-year-old then came out of the garage, armed with a firearm, and was then shot by deputies. The 12-year-old boy decided to surrender, the sheriff said.
No deputies were injured.
The 14-year-old was shot multiple times and was taken to a hospital where she is now in stable condition. The 12-year-old was not injured.
“Deputies did everything they could tonight to de-escalate, and they almost lost their lives to a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision…somebody would have ended up dead.”
Both children are facing charges of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and armed burglary.
Chitwood said the 14-year-old who fired at deputies had previously burned down a children’s home that she was sent to live in, located in Flagler County.
During a news conference on Wednesday evening, Sheriff Chitwood had strong words about the idea of restorative justice.
“I think you need to look at the system because if you look at what’s going on here – in South Florida, what are they looking for right now? Teenagers that shot 20 people, killed two. Atlanta – last week, a 10 to 12-year-old carjacked a city councilman,” he said. “Restorative justice is getting people killed and getting people hurt.”
“Anybody that sits back and tells you that we’re a model in the state of Florida – we’re a failure in the state of Florida, just like every other state that embarks on this measure,” he continued. “We’re not saying we don’t believe in a holistic approach to juvenile crime. Absolutely positively. But when you got somebody who wants to do big-boy crimes or big-girl crimes, then treat them accordingly. Don’t try to mollycoddle them and pat them on the head and say if we hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ we’re gonna change your behavior. It’s not going to happen. They laugh at us.”
On Thursday, the Office of the State Attorney sent the following statement to WESH 2 News: “We are in the process of conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of the cases involving the 12 and 14-year-old individuals accused of shooting at police officers. Once we have completed our review, we will disclose and discuss our charging decisions in more detail.”